Declan McKenna- What Do You Think About The Car? (Album Review)

Declan McKenna released his debut album- What Do You Think About The Car? – on the 21st July 2017, on Columbia Records. The album is full of the songs we’ve been loving for years now and the album is nothing short of a success.

“Dec, what do you think about the car? Do you like it?” “I think it’s really good and I’m going to sing my new album now” sounds a sample at the very beginning of the record before bursting into the infectious single ‘Humungous’. The track is humungous and powerful. It’s full of energy. It leads the listener into tracks he’s previously released, tracks we’ve heard before as an audience. The mix of new tracks and established favourites makes this album particularly exciting. Singles like ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ fit perfectly into the context of an album, but are still strong enough to be popular singles. They’re statements. A collection of expressions and confessions.

If there’s anything Declan McKenna can do well it’s writing huge politically charged tracks which sound relatively uplifting and cheerful despite their often deep, reflective lyrics- see ‘Paracetamol’, biggest hit ‘Brazil’ and ‘Bethlehem’. He takes on the role of character and narrator to write incredibly introspective and a close, educated study of the world around him. Similarly, ‘I Am Everyone Else’ is a track about, according to McKenna, politicians pretending to represent the masses and how they try and act and appear ‘normal’. This theme appears a lot throughout.

Songs like ‘Mind’ and ‘Make Me Your Queen’ drawn on studies of love and loss. They work nicely between all the politically laced tracks. ‘Why Do You Feel So Down?’ feels sympathetic. It’s rooted with sadness.

The final track on the album ‘Listen to Your Friends’ is by far the most triumphant song on the album. It feels like he’s establishing something, a lasting message. There’s a spoken word bridge during the song, which again draws on global politics (covering the school holiday ban, the psychoactive substance ban, free health care etc.). It’s incredibly informed and interesting. It forces the listener to reflect, other than that it’s just an incredibly catchy song.

Overall, Declan McKenna’s debut album is a huge success and is easily one of the best albums of the year so far. It’s incredibly well thought out, tackles huge topics and thought provoking. I can’t wait to see what McKenna does next. I know it’ll be big.

Declan Mckenna sets off on a UK tour in October.

 

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Declan McKenna- What Do You Think About The Car? (Album Review)

July 2017- What I’m Listening To

 

Wolf Alice have finally given us a taste of their upcoming second album ‘Visions of a Life’ with the explosive Yuk Foo. It’s thrilling from start to finish, with it’s no-nonsense attitude and lyrics. There’s elements that remind me a bit of Courtney Barnett within in.  The band went on to release the second track from the record, ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, which couldn’t be any more different from the first single. It’s lyrics are almost poetic and are simply quite beautiful. It tells a tale people can relate to personally, which I love. The inner tourment of a love, contrast with the story what’s going on in reality.  The two songs show Wolf Alice’s complete versatility and I trust them fully. I can’t wait to hear more from the album.

The first ever TRNSMT festival, which was held on Glasgow Green from the 7th-9th July, was a huge success. The event saw Radiohead, Kasabian and Scottish rock God’s Biffy Clyro headline, with acts like Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen, George Ezra (who posted A LOT about how good the event was) and ‘special guests’ The 1975, who played one of their final shows from the I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It era, play accross the weekend.

Ed Sheeran announced a mammoth 2018 UK tour this month, which, obviously, sold out in seconds. The UK leg of the world tour see Sheeran play shows at Wembley Stadium and Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. Sheeran is no stranger to playing huge sold out shows- he sold out three nights at Wembley Stadium on his 2014 X tour. These shows sound absolutely massive and not one to be missed.

What the world definitely needed was a Mystery Jets Retrospective Tour, whereby the band will play each of their albums in full across five nights at The Garage in London. The residency kicks off on the 25th September with Making Dens. Personally, I’m more of a Twenty One person myself (it’s one of my absolute favourite albums).

Wolf Alice are back playing shows for the first time since they finished touring with My Love Is Cool last year.  The London band have released a set of dates at intimate venues across the country to celebrate where it all started. This includes a date at The Boileroom in Guildford at the end of August. I can’t WAIT to hear more new Wolf Alice material myself and the band are insane live. You’ll have to be extremely lucky to get tickets.

Lana Del Rey announced a one off date at the O2 Academy Brixton on the 18th July 2017. The event took place days later on the 24th and sold out instantly. It’s the American singer’s first UK show in four years and could be hinting at more in the future. The singer sang hits including ‘Born to Die’ and ‘Video Games’, as well as a few new songs from her latest album Lust For Life.

Liam Fray has announced a solo acoustic tour for the end of 2017. The now fully sold out event- with various upgraded venues to accommodate the huge demand- sees the Courteeners front man play acoustic versions of the band’s biggest hits. I was lucky enough to see Liam Fray sing at an acoustic concert at Banquet Records last year and it was absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t recommend it more.

Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington sadly passed away on the 20th July. The news is extremely shocking and sad and my thoughts go out to all the friends, family and fans.

The BBC announced their Live Lounge Month line up this month, which sees a different band/artist play in the prestigious Live Lounge everyday throughout September. This year’s line-up includes sets from the legendary Foo Fighters, George Ezra and even Coldplay front man Chris Martin.

This year’s Mercury Award nominations have been announced. The shortlist includes incredible albums including Glass Animal’s How To Be A Human Being, Blossoms’ self titled debut album and Alt-J’s most recent album RELAXER. Other nominees are The XX, Loyle Carner, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and The Big Moon. This year’s shortlist is the toughest yet, with competition being extremely tough. I might do a follow up post on all the nominees at some point because this year’s is an absolute gem.

Who isn’t in Charli XCX’s new video for ‘Boys’? There’s everyone from Liam Fray to Mac DeMarco, Joe Jonas, Mark Ronson, Brendan Urie and Fred MacPherson. I suggest you watch it… Playing spot the famous ‘boy’ is a lot of fun!

This month I’ve been listening to a lot of Haim’s latest album (which came out this month). I’ve also been enjoying a lot of Declan McKenna (as his debut came out this month too and it’s a hell of an album) and Dua Lipa. Tom Grennan is my spot of the month- he’s utterly brilliant! There’s vintage Courteeners and new Wolf Alice too.

Next month there’s so much to look forward too. The main thing being Reading Festival, of course!

July 2017- What I’m Listening To

Declan McKenna- The Hippodrome, Banquet Records, 21/07/2017 (Live Review)

You can’t deny that Declan McKenna works hard. It’s barely even August and he’s already been on two headline UK tours, an international tour, put out a brilliant debut album AND is playing pretty much every significant festival in the UK that you can name and yet his album tour seemed like the most exciting and intimate yet.

On the 21st July 2017- on the evening of album release day- 18-year-old Declan McKenna and his band (the emphasis on age is boring but important because his achievements are so huge) played to an enthusiastic, young crowd for Kingston’s Banquet Records at The Hippodrome. The set- whilst usually only half an hour at a typical Banquet Records release show- was worthy of a full concert title, as it lasted little under an hour. The best part being that he met and signed every single record in the record shop before hand, an appreciated move that made the event extra special (especially as it cost only the price of the CD, which felt like an absolute steal at around £10).

McKenna opened with EP favourites ‘Isombard’ and ‘Bethlehem’, before delving into tracks off his debut- What Do You Think About The Car? – as expected at an album release show. McKenna played new tracks at “a pocket sized Declan McKenna gig with allllll his frieeeennndssss”, including ‘Make Me Your Queen’, ‘The Kids Don’t Want to Come Home’ and latest single ‘Humongous’. He played ‘Listen to Your Friends’ after asking “if anyone actually knew that one yet”, which was, surprisingly, met with a roar of applause. The audience sung word for word to all the songs, new and old.  He regularly paused in between and even during songs to check up on the audience who were becoming increasingly squashed in the excitement. He urged everyone to “look out for each other”.

Declan McKenna popped up in all manner of places during the set. He regularly popped up along the front before running around the crowd to the back during an impromptu break-out into The White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ over chants of ‘OOOOH JEREMY COOOORBYNNN’ in the same rhythm. His playing in the middle of the crowd was short lived as he was swamped by fans and anxious security guards who couldn’t quite put their fingers on what he’d do next. His unpredictability made the set even more exciting.

‘Paracetamol’ was, as always, a highlight, as there’s nothing more exciting than a huge sing-a-long  to such a powerful, deep song, but, of course, ‘Brazil’ proved the most energetic closer. No crowd-surfing I’d like to add though. Not this time… I think he’d have been torn apart. The fans were pretty eager!

I’d like more “pocket sized Declan McKenna gigs” please, but I fear they’re only going to get bigger from now on and rightfully so.

 

Declan McKenna- The Hippodrome, Banquet Records, 21/07/2017 (Live Review)

New Artist of the Month (August 2017)- Ten Tonnes

This month’s up and coming artist of the month is Ten Tonnes.

Ten Tonnes- also known as Ethan Barnett- has previously released two EPs, Lucy (2016) and Born to Lose (2017) and has the most soulful indie-rock voice. This, paired with his fascinatingly written lyrics, makes him undoubtedly one to watch. A BBC Introducing graduate (like his older brother George Ezra), he has already toured across the UK and played at major UK festivals, including Reading and Leeds. His track ‘Silver Heat’ (a track about flashbacks to old memories, many of which about an ex girlfriend), from his 2017 EP Born to Lose, was produced by The Maccabees’ Hugo White.

He played a triumphant set at this year’s Reading Festival to an eager audience, which saw Barnett bring his sun-kissed, soulful indie-rock to the Festival Republic Stage (a leap from the BBC Introducing Stage which he played in 2016). He played the singles ‘Lucy’ and ‘Born to Lose’.

He is set to release his latest single, ‘Cracks Between’, on the 1st August 2017, which was originally broadcast on Huw Stephen’s BBC Radio 1 show on the 30th August.

New Artist of the Month (August 2017)- Ten Tonnes

Community Festival, 01/07/2017 (Festival Review)

The first ever Community Festival, run by Festival Republic (the masterminds behind Reading and Leeds, Wireless, Download, Latitude and V-Festival), was held in Finsbury Park on July 1st 2017. The one day event was headlined by the brilliant Catfish and the Bottlemen and promised to showcase the best new music has to offer. The event consisted of two stages- The Main Stage and The N4 Stage- and saw 14 up and coming acts take to the stage. Community Festival, despite being a new festival, saw no teething problems and proved a roaring success amongst the hundreds of keen festival goers.

Here’s my pick of the day:

RedFaces kicked off the day with a raucous, yet exciting set. The day’s freshest faces played a captivating live set, with a sound and stage presence similar to that of The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys. The Sheffield band played a selection of new songs, including ‘Wise Up’ and ‘Kerosene’, and proved they’re ones to watch, earning their place on such a talented line-up.

Brighton band Fickle Friends took to the stage fresh from releasing their latest EP Glue. Momentum is just starting to build for the band and their set was full of radio hits and established indie anthems, including ‘Swim’ and ‘Cry Baby’. They consistantly write and release songs that you can’t help but want dance to, which are up-beat and infectiously catchy. The crowd were well and truly warmed up by the awe inspiring set.

Darlia are always fascinating. The Blackpool band played songs from their 2015 debut album, Petals, and impressed the audience with new songs, including ‘Ballard of Black and White’ and ‘Beam Me Up’. Their grungy sound is intriguing and also exciting.

You can’t deny that the The Hunna have done a lot over the last year. They’ve put out their debut record, 100, toured nationally and graduated from the BBC Introducing Stage into a world of main stages and chanting fans. Their Community Festival set seemed triumphant, with the crowd lapping up their every move. Granted, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they did bring energy and enthusiasm to an already exciting line-up- what’s a festival without The Hunna these days anyway?

Nothing But Thieves are- debatably- no longer the new kids on the block. They’re established enough to have had hit after hit on their brilliant self-title debut album, including the singles ‘Trip Switch’, ‘Itch’ and ‘Wake Up Call’, and are set for success in releasing their up-coming second album. The band- with Conor Mason (lead singer)’s stunning, mature voice- played a huge set at the festival, with fans gathering in anticipation. They showcased new single ‘Amsterdam’, as well as other new songs.

If you haven’t seen Slaves live then you’re missing out. They’re extremely fascinating and tell the most brilliant anecdotes. The Kent punk duo played a mix of songs from their 2015 debut album Are You Satisfied?, as well as from their latest album Take Control (2016). They even brought out Madness’ Suggs to announce their guest appearance at Madness’s House of Common Festival, on Clapham Common, London.

I don’t think it’s fair to call The Wombats ‘new’ considering their debut album came out ten years ago. They’re one of the best live bands about and aren’t afraid to bring the stereotypically British party to any location. The band played songs spanning their impressive three album back catalogue. The huge crowd sang along word for word with the Liverpool trio and danced throughout the set and into the impromptu instrumental at the end (as they had a bit of time left). They definitely played one of the best sets of the day.

Catfish and the Bottlemen made a rare appearance headlining the new event.  They’ve remained pretty quiet since their sold out run of areas late last year, which saw them playing Wembley Arena, and are hopefully set to release new music soon. The band played hits from their first record- The Balcony– and a selection of tracks form their second record- The Ride. The indie-rock sensations brought a successful day to a close and proved what could happen with hard work and determination in just few years. It was the perfect end to a brilliant day and left the day with a euphoric, triumphant feel.

In conclusion, the first ever Community Festival was a success. I hope the event returns next year as there’s a lot of great new music that needs exposure and it proved such a success this year. The day was laced with the latest music, fan favourites and was a celebration of what can be achieved with drive and enthusiasm. The atmosphere was special too, with friendly fans and a real ‘community’ spirit (if you pardon the pun). I couldn’t recommend it more.

Community Festival, 01/07/2017 (Festival Review)

Glastonbury Festival 2017 Review

*Apologies that these posts have taken an age. We’ve been without internet for nearly a month!*

This year’s Glastonbury Festival took place on Worthy Farm from the 22nd-27th June. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran, with Bee Gee Barry Gibb playing the festival’s prestigious Sunday afternoon legends slot. Other notable acts across the weekend included Lorde, The Courteeners and Declan McKenna. The Killers performed a surprise set, which was headline worthy, on the John Peel Stage, and Elbow, too, performed a surprise set, which was on The Park Stage, on Friday.

This year’s festival felt very exciting. It came at a time of political unrest (a year on from Brexit), great new music- with grime deservedly taking centre stage- and a line-up sufficient to fill the Glastonbury shaped gap in the festival calendar next year, when they take a fallow year. This year’s festival was surprisingly sunny too- result!

Friday 23rd June

Glass Animals, BBC Introducing – There’s little more exciting than the opening act on the BBC Introducing Stage. It’s often big enough- yet secret and special enough- to rival whatever 80s legend is playing a killer set on The Other Stage, in this case it was The Pretenders (who played a pretty brilliant set). In recent years we’ve seen the likes of Circa Waves and plenty of other BBC Introducing alumni christen the stage, but this year it was the turn of glorious, indie art-pop band Glass Animals. The stripped back set was extremely short and sweet- a mere four songs long- but left the audience hungry (perhaps because of the sheer volume of pineapples dotted about the stage and throughout the audience) for their full band performance later that day. They played ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Season 2 Episode 3’, at the audience’s request, from their latest album How to be a Human Being, which was released later last year. They also played the hit ‘Gooey’ and ‘Black Mambo’, from their 2014 debut album ZABA.

Blossoms, The Pyramid Stage – It’s always brilliant to see a band graduate onto the prestigious Pyramid Stage (we saw Wolf Alice triumphantly do it in 2016), but none more refreshing, exciting or well deserved than that of Blossoms’ early afternoon set. The band played a setlist filled mainly with songs from their debut album Blossoms, which was released last year, with the odd B-Side and latest single ‘This Moment’ with Chase and Status thrown in for good measure. I’ve seen enough Blossoms shows over the last year to say that this was nothing much different to the rest yet this felt extra special. The sheer volume of the crowd reflected the huge year that Blossoms have had and it’s great to see them finally get the recognition they deserve.

Declan McKenna, John Peel Stage – 18-year-old Declan McKenna is no stranger to Glastonbury Festival, but this was his first taste of major stage success, despite being given the chance to play the same stage two years prior. The set came just weeks before the release of his stunning debut album, What Do You Think About the Car? It felt like a pivotal set of his career, with the chance to open up his already huge fan base to a totally different audience. His youthful depictions of life, love and-importantly- politics are refreshing and his energetic stage presence is exciting. He ran about and scaled things like any 18-year-old playing Glastonbury would dream of doing. He even crowd surfed, much to the securities dismay. He played again over the weekend (Sunday on the Left Field Stage, which seemed very fitting). I recommend you watch out for Declan McKenna; he’s only just getting started.

George Ezra, The Other Stage – George Ezra played the ultimate feel good, sing-a-long set on The Other Stage. His set rivalled an unannounced, not-so-secret set by Elbow on The Park Stage, yet the size of his crowd wasn’t hindered by this. Ezra played all the hits from his first album, opening with a jazzed-up, trumpet filled ‘Cassy-O’, closely followed by ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘Listen to the Man’, from his first album, Wanted On Voyage. George Ezra also showcased many a song from his long awaited second album, speaking tales of writing the album- like a delightful in person version of his weekly email updates- and what he learnt in the process of making it. He encouraged the crowd to sing along with his new songs, which they did and they did loudly. He even played his latest single ‘Don’t Matter Now’, which, at the time, had only been out for a matter of weeks and yet everyone knew all the words. When he ended with undoubtedly his biggest hit, ‘Budapest’, he seemed somewhat overwhelmed and moved by the audience’s reaction. He didn’t even need to sing it because the audience sang it so loudly for him! George Ezra is always a pleasure to see, but he really does pull out the stops for Glastonbury.

Lorde, The Other Stage – Lorde played Glastonbury for the first time this year, but she was welcomed as if she was a regular. There’s not many times that I’m emotionally moved by a performance, but Lorde’s set was something else. It seemed dramatic, theatrical, a spectacle- all words which, too, describe her incredible second album, Melodrama. Her second album was released a week to the day and Lorde described it as celebrating the album’s “birthday”. She performed in front of a moving glass cage-type contraption. Various actors would fill the container and interact to the music with one another, in front of a changing screen, using props. This was not a gimmick. At first I was confused, but the theatrical performance seemed fitting with the huge, dramatic production. Lorde opened with a short, orchestra lead version of ‘Green Light’ before bursting into a set full of new and old favourites. The pinnacle point of the set was Lorde performing ‘The Louvre’, from her latest album, which she explained was about “having a crush” and urged the audience to “close their eyes” and think of their crush when listening to the song. This flowed seamlessly into the emotional “The Louvre”, whereby Lorde sat on the front of the stage and explained how it was a song about “not feeling like you’re good enough”. It was highly emotional and felt incredible intimate, ironic given the setting. Lorde sang and danced throughout, even ending up in the crowd at points. She played an incredible set, one which topped my entire weekend.

Saturday 24th June

The Magic Gang, William’s Green – Brighton’s own The Magic Gang managed to bring their chilled indie-rock to an eager crowd on the Saturday morning of Glastonbury Festival. Many a huge band have played William’s Green at some point in their career and I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see The Magic Gang at the festival. The band played a selection of tracks from their EPs, including latest single ‘Your Love’, and the audience loved every minute of it.

The Amazons, John Peel – I’m a huge supporter of The Amazons and love their music, but if ever there was a moment you don’t want to have your electrics fail on you this was it. The set was laced with technical issues but proved triumphant nonetheless. The band played to a packed out John Peel tent, which is a promising sign for any up and coming artist, and played the majority of their 2017 self-titled debut album. The set was full of highlights, from the bold ‘Junk Food Forever’ to fan favourite ‘Black Magic’.

Katy Perry, The Pyramid Stage – When faced with the hideous clash between Liam Gallagher and Katy Perry, who do you choose? I spoke to a guy who saw both and his verdict was Perry. The risk of missing a potential- yet hideously unlikely- Oasis reunion tempted the masses but pop-sensation Katy Perry played to nothing short of a full Pyramid field. I find Katy Perry extremely fascinating and her bubbly stage presence and brash production overtly captivating. The set was odd from start to finish (what else would you expect?). Perry came out dressed as some sort of sparkly school child- pink hat and rucksack in tow- with latest album eye logo plastered pretty much everywhere. There was a huge pink moving eye, pom-pom clad dancers a plenty and confetti cannons to make any audience happy. Gimmicky? Maybe. Fascinating and theatrical? Absolutely. Perry played hits from her latest album, including the singles ‘Chained to the Rhythm’, ‘Bon Appétit’ and ‘Swish Swish’, but ultimately it felt obvious she was there to sell her latest album- Witness– which had recently (unfairly) flopped in the charts. Perry played unknown song upon unknown song from her latest album, which became slightly laborious after a while. Having said that, the odd hit she peppered in was absolutely incredible and the atmosphere was buzzing. The mash-up of hits and (infuriating) rearrangement of ‘Teenage Dream’ made up for the lack of desire for the newer songs. You can’t say she’s not entertaining though!

Alt-J, Headliners of The Other Stage – We tried the HUGE (on all accounts) Pyramid Stage set Foo Fighters, which was filled with hit upon hit from their massive expansive back catalogue, tributes to Florence and the Machine’s 2015 filler- but killer- headline set and two and a half or so hours of Dave Grohl being the absolute legend he is, but settled for Alt-J’s euphoric Other Stage headline set. Alt-J are a band I’m fascinated by. Their live sets always feel as though they’re an experience. A journey. This was no exception. The audience were taken on a journey through the last few years of Alt J material, as each song was seamlessly- and effortlessly- sewn together by instrumental and an impressive light show. Alt-J proved that they know how to navigate a good headline set.

Sunday 25th June  

Sundara Karma, John Peel Stage – You can’t go far without escaping the up and coming indie kings that are Sundara Karma and rightly so. Sundara Karma have picked up massive momentum this year, having released their huge debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, toured the UK both on a headline tour and with indie legends Two Door Cinema Club and set to embark on a huge tour which includes a date at the Brixton Academy. The tent was filled with new and old fans, as they played songs from their debut in both its standard and recently released extended form. I’m beyond excited to see where this leads them, but things are looking up- perhaps they’ll do a Wolf Alice or Blossoms and we’ll see them on the Pyramid Stage in a matter of years?

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, The Other Stage – Is there anything Rag ‘N’ Bone Man can’t do? More specifically, is there anything he can’t do without total grace and gratitude? Brighton’s Rag ‘N’ Bone Man seemed to soak up and enjoy every minute of his Glastonbury set. He seemed genuinely grateful that so many people had turned out to watch his hour long set and that’s something that came through in his flawless singing. He sang many a song from his debut album ‘Human’, which was released earlier this year, including the pop-hit title track and others, including ‘Skin’ and ‘Wolves’. He even brought out and shared the stage with his previous rap collective, an understandable yet contradictory move away from his famous soulful voice. He’s a special act.

The Killers, The John Peel Stage – The weekend had been swarming with rumours as to what the mysterious Sunday John Peel Stage TBA act could be. The area was so heaving they had to block all entrances off and stop more people from entering the field and people spilled out of the tent in all directions (you were lucky if you could get close). Luckily, the set turned out to be none other than The Killers, who played a headline worthy set. The band rattled through their hits- ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘When You Were Young’, ‘Smile Like You Mean it’- as well as their infectious new single, ‘The Man’. Brandon Flowers needn’t sing as the crowd sung along (loudly) word for word on every single song. It was pretty incredible really. The hightlights included the bridge of ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ where thousands sung ‘I got soul, but I’m not a soldier’ back to a blown away Flowers and, of course, Mr Brightside, which still remains one of the greatest songs of all times.

Biffy Clyro, The Pyramid Stage – Biffy Fucking Clyro played Glaston-fucking-bury for the first time in a few years and they had been missed. The band played a hit-filled, guitar fuelled set which could quite easily have filled a headline slot. It’s refreshing to see such an incredible rock act play at such an accessible, all-genre embracing festival and seeing the crowd- plenty of whom waiting for pop icon Ed Sheeran- enjoy it despite it being unusually different from the day’s headliner. Songs such as ‘Many of Horror’ provided one of the most goosebump inducing moments of the weekend, as the entire crowd sung back to Simon Neil (lead singer) and Co.

Ed Sheeran, Pyramid Stage Headliner – I’d been eagerly anticipating Ed Sheeran’s headliner set for the best part of six months, let along the few days of the festival that had already been. Sheeran played- entirely solo, with the help of his trusty loop-pedal- centre stage with hundreds of screens behind him projecting his face almost everywhere whilst he delivered a set everyone could sing along to. He made remarks about the audience ‘knowing it even if they didn’t like it’ and assertively directed the crowd to sing, jump and dance at intervals. I wasn’t disappointed by his set, but it had nothing on the likes of Biffy Clyro, The Killers or, especially, Lorde. He’s pretty admirable and gutsy to do it though, you have to give it to him.

 

 

 

 

Glastonbury Festival 2017 Review

Paramore, The Royal Albert Hall (19/06/2017)

Paramore played a sold out show at The Royal Albert Hall, in London, on the 19th June 2017, as part of the first leg of their global Tour One tour, in support of their latest album After Laughter, which was released in May. The band were supported by a band called Bleached.

Paramore played a set which felt intimate, despite the venue being filled. It felt like the band were playing comeback shows to a room full of friends. The band opened with ‘Told You So’, from their latest album, whilst the expectant fans swarmed towards the stage ignoring the all-seating layout. The crowd sang the band’s latest songs- including ‘Fake Happy’, ‘Rose Coloured Boy’ and ‘Caught in the Middle’- word for word, as if they had been setlist staples for years. The band seemed happy and comfortable- the happiest they’ve seemed in a long time- and the band seemed relaxed. It’s their first tour since Zac Farro rejoined the band and the stripped back, no fuss stage layout- with an impressive light display- seemed to complement the band’s choice of setlist.

The band threw in a stunning cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, which showed off the versatility of lead singer Hayley Williams’ voice. The band explained how they’d listened to it a lot during the recording of their latest album. It was a refreshing song choice for a once pop-punk band.

The mix of covers and new tracks peppered into a heap of older tracks, straying from their newer sound. The band played songs from their five album deep back catalogue, including the hit ‘Still Into You’ and Grammy Award winning single ‘Ain’t it Fun’, from their 2013 self-titled album, as well as ‘That’s What You Get’, from their 10 year old album Riot, and ‘Brick By Boring Brick’ from Brand New Eyes. The band didn’t play any songs from their debut album- All We Know is Falling– on this tour, which is understandable as they’re spoilt for choice with popular hits and fan favourites from their other albums.

The band invited fans up to sing Misery Business with them, as they have done for the last few years. The atmosphere is always especially buzzing throughout this part of the set, as fans eagerly anticipate being picked and lucky fans dance around the stage with Williams and co.

Paramore played a three song encore, including a HalfNoise track- ‘Scooby’s in the Back’- from their The Velvet Face EP. Half Noise are Paramore drummer Zac Farro’s other band. This was incredibly well received. They also played ‘Foregiveness’, before ending with their latest single ‘Hard Times’, which felt like a triumphant ending to an immensely successful gig.

This show felt like a special warm up show, teasing something huge that’s to come. It was an absolute treat. The band could’ve sold out venues twice the size or easily played three nights in a row, yet this felt exclusive. I can’t wait to see what they do next because I, for one, will be there.

Paramore, The Royal Albert Hall (19/06/2017)